160

Kyle Bruckmann: Grand Mal

Frank Rubolino By

Sign in to view read count
A branch of improvising artists with roots on the USA's West Coast flourishes on not being satisfied with the status quo. These Bay Area renegades continue to push the envelope in search of that which is truly new. Their unique experimental environment has beckoned woodwind player Kyle Bruckmann from his Midwest abode on several occasions. On this trek, he unites with Ernesto Diaz- Infante, John Shiurba, and Karen Stackpole to form a union of sound processors submerged into one bubbling caldron of atonality.

Bruckmann plays an unusual assortment of double reeds, including the oboe; its larger sized but lower pitched cousin, the English horn; and the Chinese suona, whose conical bell generates penetrating nasality. With the staccato string outbursts from Diaz-Infante and Shiurba gurgling around him, and delicately placed percussive punctuation marks from Stackpole surfacing through the cracks, Bruckmann takes eerie, calculated steps toward a world of unconventional sound production. He squeezes a tonal spectrum of high-pitched nuances out of his horns, while an irregular form of discordant cadence marks the rout-step procession into areas rhythm makers fear to tread.

Ernesto Diaz-Infante is a charter member of the California alliance. He may be classified as a guitarist, but there is no avenue of sound he will not explore in his search for the purity residing along its corridors. Using any method available to eek stark messages from his acoustic instrument, Diaz-Infante turns the guitar into a form of primitive percussion device complete with frame raps and palm massages to counter-balance the sensitive string songs he very cautiously allows to escape from his magical bottle.

Shiurba takes the electric avenue in seeking the source of truth. From blunted notes to high- volume cascades of amplification, he coexists in this strange sound world. His instrument at times emulates a motorized vehicle rushing over the highway hitting speed bumps that jar the output to form a tangled olio of music/noise/static. Stackpole weighs her input thoughtfully using gongs, bells, and miniature forms of percussion. She splatters the canvas with intuitively placed strokes to ensure the ride will not veer toward conventionality.

When all these ethereal forces forge together, a strange new world of dawning knowledge emerges. The program gains momentum and descends in cloudbursts of multi-phonic signals to announce the collective meeting of four minds. It is music without any preconceived dictate on direction, yet the musicians arrive at their destination as though it were a planned route. The journey affords numerous challenges to the open mind, which in turn cleanses the soul through its chaste and fully unpredictable nature.


Track Listing: Catatonic Posturing I; Nervous Tic; Gray Matter; Spatial Agnosia; The Final "d" in "Grand" Is Not Pronounced; Big, Bad; Retrograde Amnesia; Shaking Palsy; Tonic Clonic; Catatonic Posturing II.

Personnel: Kyle Bruckmann: oboe, English horn, suona; Ernesto Diaz-Infante: acoustic guitar; John Shiurba: electric guitar; Karen Stackpole: percussion.

Title: Grand Mal | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Barely Auditable Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Kill Together" CD/LP/Track Review Kill Together
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Colour And Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Colour And Movement
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Screen Sounds" CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Blue Light" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Light
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Sanctified" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctified
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.